March 31st, 2010, 9:34 am
This movie sucks!
Although the Sharks didn’t play, last night was a great night for San Jose. The Hawks lost, 5 points behind with only one game in hand. The Coyotes lost, Breezy giving up 4 goals on 29 shots. And the Wings won, which in our Convoluted Calculus of Counterparties™ is actually a good thing. As loyal readers and listeners know, I want to avoid the Red Wings in the first round at all costs. Seriously, if it meant the Sharks had to dump the last six games of the season, I might be able to work up an argument for that. But as it happens, it’s not required. The Winged Wheel is on fire. They’ve won six straight, and are 11-1-1 in their last 13 games.
Detroit is now only one point behind Nashville. Given they have three (!) more games against the Blue Jackets and one against Philly (plus one against Nashville), I’d say their chances are very good they end up the five seed. My earlier prediction of the Sharks facing the Wings in the first round is getting dimmer by the day. With Phoenix faltering just a bit, I’m hoping this gives the Sharks an easy path to the #1 seed, hopefully facing the reeling Avs in the first round.
Speaking of reeling, how ’bout them Hawks? Their early season strategy of “who needs a decent goalie? We’ll just give up 20 shots a game and win anyway” isn’t working out so hot lately. Although they still lead the lead in shots allowed with 24.9, they’ve given up more than that in eight out of their last ten. One of the games where they did better than their average, they lost. To Columbus. Niemi got most of those starts, so does this mean they will go back to Huet? I’m sure Coach Q is just thrilled he has such a thoroughbred stable of goaltenders to choose from.
So the Sharks seem to be back in a good position, actually, a great one. They have a bit of competition from below in Phoenix, whose trapping style could easily eat up some teams struggling for motivation late in the season. They have Detroit on a run, destined for a seeding far from the Sharks’ first-round gun-sights. And Chicago’s once-impenetrable armor is now looking like Swiss cheese.
It’s a great opportunity to continue the run tonight against Dallas, who are all but eliminated from postseason play. No Modano means no Shark-killer. I say the win streak continues. Look for the podcast to be posted tonight sometime after the game.
March 14th, 2010, 9:14 pm
Maybe it’s just because I’m fighting the flu, but I’m a little down on everything today, and the Sharks are no exception. After watching the Sharks cough up the game to the #12 seed in the east on Saturday, the Sharks lose big to the western #13 seed tonight. Couldn’t help thinking that the Sharks would lose a series to the Ducks if it started tomorrow, but that could just be a product of my general malaise.
I wish I could point to a specific player (although I do have a stink eye peering in Devin Setoguchi’s direction), but it just seems a general lack of urgency, and the inevitable high turnovers. Couple that with some bad goaltending, and the Sharks lose games. At least the Sharks aren’t alone in losing games they shouldn’t – Chicago managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory today, and I’m sure Doug will be thrilled to chime in to reitierate his theory (which is looking pretty good right now) of Chicago being in deep trouble with Huet in net.
So how worried are you? Sweating like me? Wait, that could be the fever. Dammit.
March 11th, 2010, 8:53 am
The Sharks are rolling on, winning games in a comeback fashion. But this week is about you, the listeners. The contest winner is announced, and the Dudes take several emails, talking about the Sharks possible playoff matchups, where they might finish in the standings, and weigh in on the latest headshot controversy.
Podcast: Play in new window
February 3rd, 2010, 8:34 am
After things have been going so well for the Sharks, they lose two of their top four defensemen, and lose in a disappointing fashion to both Chicago and Detroit. The Dudes talk about what it all means, break down the blockbuster trades in the NHL of the past week, and still leave enough time for listener email. Also, make sure to weigh in on the new poll question after you listen.
Podcast: Play in new window
January 29th, 2010, 9:16 am
Save the opening ten minutes of last night’s game, the Sharks put in a really good effort. The second and third periods were more or less how we expected the entire game to be- fast, end-to-end, with dynamic chances. After the longest layoff since mid December, the Sharks started the game flat, which certainly includes Nabby. They coughed up three goals before you could say “Kris Versteeg douchey sunglasses.” While the first goal was clearly a missed assignment, leaving Byfuglien alone in the high slot for an open shot, I thought the second two were mostly on Nabby. He had plenty of time to get in position on Brower’s first of the night, leaving the near side open. Then, on the third goal, a shot came from a sharp angle, and instead of Nabby kicking it to the corner or directing it behind the net, it was kicked back to Hossa, who passed it to Ladd for the tip-in. I might have pulled Nabby right then and there.
But give the boys some credit- they woke up, and managed to tie the game eventually on the NHL’s #1 team in terms of shots and goals against. Going back to the formula that beat the Hawks in their barn on December 22nd, the Sharks were shooting high all night on Huet, and several missed seemingly by millimeters. All this without Marc-Eduouard Vlasic, who Doug and I only noticed wasn’t out there in the middle of the third. He actually only played 7:25, his normal load for the first, and never came back for the second or third. The fact that Huskins had more ice time than he’s had all season (25:46), Murray third most all season (23:54), and Blake third (24:26), seemed particularly evident on the last play of the game, when Murray rushed the puck deep, the Hawks produced a turnover and an ensuing rush, and Murray looked even slower than usual in getting back in the play- from where I was it looked like dead legs.
I can’t find a single report that even mentions Vlasic’s injury, much less the extent of it. I expect Pollak should have something on his blog today. All I can say is, Boyle, we missed you, and Vlasic, get well soon. Hurt even more because he had another strong offensive night, being in exactly the right place and passing the puck perfectly to Pavelski. Say that three times fast.
January 27th, 2010, 8:18 pm
Patrick Kane shows off what his Quenneville gave him on a classy limo ride in Vancouver with teammates.
It’s the night before the big game vs. the San Jose Sharks, and there’s no doubt the Chicago NudistHawks forward Patrick Kane will be out looking for a good time. In case you haven’t heard, there are some interesting pictures floating around of Kane living the Canadian high life with fellow forwards John Madden and Kris Versteeg on a road trip to Vancouver.
So, I thought it the neighborly thing to do to offer a few suggestions where Mr. Kane might be able to have a few Miller Lites and get his chest quickly manicured.
#3: HARRY’S HOFFBRAU
I'll get the Open Face Versteeg Sandwich please, hold the giblets.
The best place in the South Bay for a hearty helping of stuffed cabbage and a full service manzilian. Patrick Kane and friends are sure to be at home here as they tilt back a few ice cold brews, take in the honeys, and nibble on a giant turkey leg. Don’t drink and drive boys – make sure to call a cabbie, and this time bring the correct change, Mr. Kane.
"Am I a B cup?"
Although based on this photo, it looks like the Blackhawks players are fascinated with their own sweater puppies.
#1: MANLEY’S DONUT SHOP
Look Mom! No dignity!
At this San Jose landmark, Blackhawks center John Madden can flex his guns while getting the special “jelly filled” chest waxing. I didn’t realize it was required to have a shaved chest to play for an original six team? When will those freshly waxed photos of Bob Gainey emerge? I’m sure Georges Laraque is searching for them as I type.
Just for the record, NudistHawks. Keep your oddly shaved selves out of our locker room. We’ve got our own exhibitionist and he’s proud to be au naturale.
December 23rd, 2009, 11:33 am
Especially when a bear is riding it.
Doug wanted at least three points on the recent back-to-back, and he got four. However, it’s a time of giving, and I could argue that all four points were gifts from the hockey gods. As I said on the recent podcast, if Ivan Vishnevskiy hadn’t fumbed the puck into our own net, Dallas would have tied that game; I’m sure of it. And last night, Nabby withstood a hailstorm of biblical proportions, making 45 saves, giving the Sharks the win despite being on the short end of just about every statistical category, even faceoffs.
Watching the post-game interview with Dan Boyle with the sound off, you would have guessed that they lost. Other than the power play, which was pretty damn good, there weren’t a lot of high spots. One high spot was Patrick Marleau, who again made the Hawks defense look incredibly foolish, generating chances for himself out of very little. This guy HAS to be on the Canadian Olympic team. In fact, it was a veritable showcase of Olympic talent last night- Marleau, Heatley, Thornton, Boyle, Pavelski, Kane, Toews, Keith, and Seabrook all have good shots at making their respective teams, and that’s just North America. Nabby, Hossa, Hjallmersson, and Murray are the European reps.
Clearly this was a marquee matchup, and the Sharks came out on top. A win’s a win, right? I suppose. It’s difficult to believe that the Sharks would win another game if they played Chicago ten more times like that, so it rings a bit hollow with me. As I’m writing this, Doug just texted me with “Last night was a perfect example of why the Hawks will not win a Cup with Huet.” But I disagree. Huet had two consecutive shutouts before last night, and gave up only two goals on 33 shots the night before that. I do admit that Huet wouldn’t be my first choice to backstop a Stanley Cup contender, but given the Hawks are best in shots allowed, and second best in shots taken, they can continue to shield Huet if they keep playing like this.
Actually, there were times last night where I thought to myself that this Hawks team was not unlike the Sharks last year. Gaudy shot totals, though many were of the unscreened long range variety. Top of the league in December (they still are in my mind, because they have two games in hand). Could Chicago meet the same fate at the Sharks did last year, because they “peaked too early”? Who knows? All I know is there’s no way I’m missing the final matchup of the season between these two teams on 1/28.
December 21st, 2009, 12:36 pm
- Claude Lemiuex wants you to show up tonight, Sharks.
Will the real San Jose Sharks please stand up?
This two game road swing is a pretty important moment for the Sharks franchise as they approach the halfway point of the 2009-10 season. As my holiday fingers type this post, the Sharks sit in a first place tie with the LA Kings in the Pacific Division and has lost their #1 seed in the Western Conference. Now, I don’t care about winning the conference, honestly I’d prefer if they didn’t so there’s not some eery sense of doom and gloom before the playoff series even starts – but winning the Pacific is very important. Whoever doesn’t (us or the Kings) will likely be in that dreaded 4 or 5 seed, and could have to dance with Calgary or Vancouver first. No thanks.
The Sharks have had no luck against the Stars and Blackhawks so far this season and if they come up with a stink bomb on this two game swing, I think Doug Wilson and company will have to pull the trigger on another move that rattles the core of this team. Anyone who reads this blog with any regularity knows that I firmly believe without an upgrade on the blueline, the Sharks are not going to be a real Cup contender. Dropping two games to teams that can’t figure out could finally be the straw that breaks the Vlasic’s back.
Here’s a stat that many of you know, and it’s rather sobering in terms of where the Sharks fall in the real power rankings of the NHL. If you take an overtime loss for a loss, here’s the Sharks record.
Chicago Blackhawks 23-11 .676
Nashville Predators 22-14 .611
LA Kings 22-15 .594
Phoenix Coyotes 21-15 .583
Calgary Flames 20-15 .571
San Jose Sharks 20-15 .571
Vancouver Canucks 20-16 .555
Colorado Avalanche 20-17 .540
When you take into account that Dallas is actually 15-20, losing to them tonight for a third time this year is unacceptable.
I think San Jose will deliver the good tonight on the road with a convincing win with a side of payback. The puck movement was so much improved with Demers on the blueline, I think the offense that struggled in the last meeting with Dallas should be ignited. The effort against the Ducks was a good sign (except for about five minutes at the beginning of the 3rd). All four lines were rolling, hitting, winning face-offs. The Sharks are as deep as any team in the NHL and I think they will wear down a Dallas blueline that will be without Trevor Daley and Marc Fistric. Sharks let the good times roll tonight and keep an itchy Doug Wilson at bay for another day.
Plus I guarantee a fight between McLaren and Barch, probably in the first ten minutes of the game.
Prediction: Sharks 5 Stars 3
November 26th, 2009, 12:10 am
This Thanksgiving episode discusses the crushing loss to Chicago, and the quality wins versus Philly and Anaheim. The Dudes also address the outstanding questions about Sharks in the Olympics, like whether the Thornton-Heatley-Marleau line will be on Team Canada intact. Also, be sure to listen to the ChompTalk radio program on AM 1220 on Sunday, December 6 from 8-10pm- hear and talk to the Dudes live! In other news, there will be a caravan on Sharks fans going down to Anaheim on March 14, 2010, see details here, and a great video of the last roadtrip here.
Podcast: Play in new window
November 25th, 2009, 1:14 pm
Tonight, with the Hawks in town, both teams will either be pining for missing players, or welcoming them back into the fold. The biggest story is the return of Marian Hossa, who hasn’t played a game yet this year after having shoulder surgery. That top line of Kane Toews and Hossa will be something to watch. Can the Sharks new third line, or a defensive minded second line (Marleau, Pavs and Malhotra) keep that line in check? In addition to the missing Blake, Seto, and Shelley, another guy the Sharks might be without is Dan Boyle, who Pollak said is “still possible” to play. That would be a huge loss for the Sharks and their #3 ranked power play. Mitchell is back here, but not supposed to start until the weekend (ibid). Is that the only time ibid has ever been used in a hockey blog post? I’m trying to break new ground here.
Despite thinking that team is chock full of offensive weapons, the fact is Chicago’s defense is the more impressive. They’ve allowed only 2.14 goals per game, good for first in the league. Sharks are third at 2.36. Their offense certainly isn’t bad, 6th, while the Sharks are 4th. #1 in offense? Atlanta. Yeah, go figure. They have nine guys with 10 points or more.
Anyway, the point is the Chicago Blackhawks are as close statistically to the Sharks as any other team in the league. They are even 1-2 in faceoff percentage. Two divergences- PK (Sharks 1st, Chicago 9th), and shots. San Jose is middle of the pack in both shots for and against, while the Hawks are near the top in shots, and #1 in shots allowed.
Also like the Sharks is their interesting free agent situation. There were big rumors last week that the Triumvirate of Toews, Kane, and Duncan Keith had renewal contracts in the works, but this week is quiet. If they make it happen, could that be a template for Doug Wilson in trying to sign Pavs, Seto, and Marleau/Nabby? I’m using the slash because I still think only one of those two can be kept.
I suppose this would be the time where I would use terms like “measuring stick” and “statement game” and all that. I’ll just take the win.
Two notes: The podcast will be recorded and uploaded after the game tonight. Didn’t seem right to talk about the Sharks before they faced off against the second best team in the West. Also, if you’re looking for a ego killer, try this trivia contest. I got only 51, and there were several more I should have gotten.